Sunday, April 21, 2024

What Are Tenants Rights In New York

Possibly A Tenant May Withhold Rent From The Landlord Under Certain Conditions

Tenants, know your rights

Again, a landlord has a duty to provide his tenants with livable, safe, and sanitary environments. Of course, the idea of livable, safe, and sanitary conditions are not fluid or arbitrary terms. These conditions do not change according to a tenants preferences just because the bathroom floor is not donned with the Apple Stores trademark Pietra Serena sandstone doesnt mean you can withhold rent from the landlord.

Livable, safe, and sanitary means the landlord needs to properly manage the security of the building as well as maintenance of pipelines, heating systems, and electrical wires.

While withholding rent is an actual right to exercise, it should be done only in very serious cases. If there are real repairs that need to be done within the property, the tenant needs to notify the landlord.Ask when the repairs will be done. If its an emergency, you need to let the landlord know it is an emergency.

In the case that the landlord is slow to respond or simply does not make the repairs, send a letter requesting the repairs. If the landlord takes no action at this point, then you might want to take your own steps to fix the issue or what you may call Repair and Deduct.

In the case that you decide to take this course of action, get some estimates before you do anything. Repairs do not mean upgrading your apartment into a nightclub or a penthouse suite!

New York Termination And Eviction Rules

State laws specify when and how a landlord may terminate a tenancy. For example, a landlord may give a New York City holdover tenant of a month-to-month tenancy an unconditional quit notice that gives the tenant 10 days to move out before the landlord can file for eviction. See State Laws on Unconditional Quit Terminations and State Laws on Termination for Violation of Lease for details on these types of termination notices in New York.

Local Ordinances Affecting New York Landlords And Tenants

Cities and counties often pass local ordinances, such as rent control rules, health and safety standards, noise and nuisance regulations, and antidiscrimination rules that affect landlords and tenants. Many municipalities have websites âjust search for the name of a particular city in New York and then do a search when you’re on the site. For example, if you search for the noise ordinance in the City of Rochester website, you’ll easily find Rochester’s Noise Ordinance FAQ.

State and Local Government on the Net and Municode are good sources for finding local governments online. Also, your local public library or office of the city attorney, mayor, or city or county manager can provide information on local ordinances that affect landlords and tenants in New York.

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More Resources On New York Landlord Tenant Laws

Its important for all New York residents to be familiar with New York State landlord laws. Even all of the above information does not exhaust the endless list of issues that may arise between a tenant and landlord.

Tenants rights and responsibilities within the tenant-landlord relationship are complex. There are a lot of resources to look to if youre still not sure where you stand on an issue. Below is a list of some New York state-specific resources to use as guides. Happy hunting!

Tenants rights FAQs:

Practical Tips For Tenants Facing Eviction In New York


Itâs always best to try to settle your case if you can. You may be surprised at how far good communication and negotiating with your landlord can go. The outcome of a trial will be uncertain. Your case could go either way.

It’s important to have all your ducks in a row at your eviction trial. Bring any photos, videos, documents, or other evidence that supports your case. For example, if your case is a failure to pay case, bring canceled checks and/or rental receipts with you. If your case is an eviction due to your causing damage to the apartment, bring pictures showing there’s no damage.

If you can’t appear on the date provided on your notice of petition, you need to take action. You can ask the landlord to agree to postpone the case. If successful, get the agreement in writing and file it with the clerk before your court date. The court will probably set a new court date when you can attend. Some courts will allow you to appear by telephone. If the landlord wonât agree to postpone, you can have another person appear for you in court and explain why you couldn’t attend. You’ll need a good reason for the judge to agree to give you a new court date.

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Get Help Paying Your Rent

New York State residents can now apply to have their rent arrears paid by the state under the Emergency Rental Assistance Program . Information on the program can be found here. Residents of City of Rochester and Monroe County, the City of Yonkers, Onondaga County and the towns of Hempstead, Islip and Oyster Bay must apply with their local programs for emergency rental assistance.

Eviction cases are stayed from when you file an ERAP application to when a decision is made on the application. If you have filed an ERAP application, make sure to tell the court.


  • Household gross income is at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income .These income limits differ by county and household size. A household may qualify based on current income or calendar year 2020 income that is at or below 80 percent AMI.
  • On or after March 13, 2020, a member of the household received unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in income, incurred significant costs or experienced financial hardship, directly or indirectly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The applicant is obligated to pay rent at their primary residence and has rental arrears at their current residence for rent owed on or after March 13, 2020.
  • The household must be at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, which can be demonstrated by having rental arrears owed on or after March 13, 2020.

There are no immigration status requirements to qualify for the program.


Renter Applicant Documents

Defending Tenants Facing Eviction Displacement And Homelessness

Safe, affordable housing is disappearing throughout the city. The housing crisis brought on by rising rents is hitting communities of color, single parent households, people with disabilities, and veterans particularly hard. Eviction uproots families, jeopardizing employment and education, and often leads to homelessness.

At NYLAG, we fight to preserve housing, prevent homelessness, ensure economic security for families, and promote stability in our communities.

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Right Of Department Of Social Services To Withhold Rent And Tenants Defense In Nonpayment Proceeding

Department of Social Services has right to withhold rent allowance where violations exist which are dangerous or detrimental to life or health. T has defense in nonpayment proceeding and LL not entitled to possession or money judgment for any period during which violations existed if such violations were reported to DSS by housing department. LL has burden to prove violations corrected. DSS not prevented from issuing withheld rent upon proof violations corrected.

Dont Ignore Problems Until Its Too Late

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The bottom line: If something seems off about your rental situation, dont wait until it gets out of hand to tell your landlord theres a problem the sooner you report, the sooner you can get fixes implemented. And if you have issues with your landlord or property manager whether its harassment, indifference to needed repairs, or something else entirely seek input from a tenants rights organization or the housing department right away.

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Yes While Landlords Were Responsible For Paying Any Broker Fees For Agents They Hire In 2020 This Has Recently Changed

Tenants in New York have historically paid the broker fees for agents that landlords hire, but in a reversal of policy in 2020, landlords were responsible for paying any fees for brokers that theyve hired to represent their interests. Now in 2021, the Department of State guidance has been termed which means landlords can again charge tenants this fee. New York City is one of the few rental markets with a broker industry, and broker fees can be as much as 15% of the annual lease.

The Right To Have Roommates Or Subletters

If you are a New York City sole tenant and only person on your lease, who lives in a privately-owned building you have the right to share your home with a roommate, regardless if a person is a relative or not and their children.

This doesnât benefit those renters who live in subsidized housing or to tenants who share leases with roommates.

Additionally, you have the right to sublet your apartment if you reside in a privately-owned building that has four or more apartments and you are subletting for more than a period of at least 30-days or longer despite what your lease states.

Again, this law does not cover tenants who live in subsidized housing and rent-controlled tenants.

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New York City Attorneys Help Clients Resolve Issues Across Range Of Legal Matters

At Outerbridge Law P.C., in New York City, we represent local clients in multiple areas of law affecting their personal and business concerns, tenants and landlords with their legal needs in such matters as eviction and eviction defense and tenants rights. With a decade of experience handling real estate transactions and litigating disputes, we have the knowledge and background needed to assist buyers, sellers, tenants and landlords with their legal needs.

We are also well-versed in immigration law, helping people secure the right to live and work in the U.S. and to defend themselves against government enforcement actions. We assist with marriage and other family green card petitions, removals, deportations, notices to appear, green card revocations, derivative citizenship, asylum claims, VAWAs and waivers. If you are involved in a real estate transaction, renting or leasing property or are a foreign national seeking to lawfully immigrate to the United States for family, work or safety reasons, we can provide dedicated and capable legal support.

When you have a legal problem, a skilled law firm can increase your chances of a favorable result. At Outerbridge Law P.C. in Manhattan, we deliver knowledgeable counsel to people facing a variety of complex issues. We stand up for the interests of New York clients in landlord-tenant disputes, family law matters, immigration matters and other legal challenges.

Sublease And Assignment Provisions In New York


Subleasing occurs when the original tenant rents the premises to another individual. In most states, subleasing is not allowed unless the landlord consents. A typical sublease provision in New York, reads as follows:

Tenant may not sublet all or any portion of the demised premises without Landlords written consent, which consent shall not be unreasonably withheld.

In New York, landlords can impose penalties if the tenant violates the terms of the rental agreement by subleasing the premises. Any sublet that does not comply with these provisions is considered a substantial breach of lease, which could potentially result in eviction.

Check out Rocket Lawyers Sublease Agreement here.

Abandonment of Property Provisions in New York?

According to New York law, property remaining in a tenants home is the rightful property of the tenant. The landlord has no right to sell a tenants personal possessions or to discard them as abandoned property. Title and ownership remain with the evicted tenant, unless the tenant expresses her desire to abandon the property. Generally, landlords should provide their tenants with at least 30 days written notice to claim their property.

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Reciprocal Right To Recover Attorneys Fees

If residential lease provides that LL may recover attorneys fees and/or expenses incurred for any action or proceeding arising out of lease, T entitled to recover reasonable attorneys fees and/or expenses if T successfully defends or prosecutes any action arising out of lease.

When Your Landlord Violates Eviction Law

If you believe there is an imminent physical threat of eviction, get in contact with your neighbors and/or your local tenants organization Ithaca residents can contact ITUs Organizing Help Line. We can provide information, and show up for physical protection and de-escalation.


  • Working together is far more effective than working alone! Meet with, leave letters for, or otherwise contact your neighbors to see if they are facing similar problems more often than not, a landlord will act abusively towards many tenants. If your neighbors are not facing similar problems, it is possible the landlord is discriminating against you.

  • Contact your local tenants organization to get connected to other tenants who share the same landlord, meet experienced organizers who can answer questions about rights and organizing, and distribute the work of winning the safety, funds, and dignity you deserve. Ithaca residents can contact ITU’s Organizing Help Line.

  • Lay out your options for creating leverage against the landlord together with your neighbors or other ITU tenants, like reporting them to inspectors, withholding rent, or publicly shaming them.

  • Meet with, leave letters for, or otherwise contact your neighbors to see if they are facing similar problems. More often than not, a landlord will act abusively towards many tenants. If your neighbors are not facing similar problems, it is possible the landlord is discriminating against you.


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How To Get Your Wrongly Held Security Deposit Back

The first step is to write a letter, preferably signed by other tenants who rent from that landlord and/or your local tenants organization that notifies them of their wrongful withholding and threatens to take them to Small Claims Court if you dont receive the deposit by a certain date.You can also find success in asking tenants who replace you to withhold rent until the landlord returns your deposit.


To initiate a claim, fill out this form and bring it to your local civil courthouse. If you need help filling it out or getting it to the courthouse, contact your local tenants organization.

Small Claims Court is designed to be simple. You can sue another person without having a lawyer represent you. If your landlord refuses to give back your deposit because he or she claims that you damaged the apartment, you should bring witnesses, photos and other evidence with you to court to prove that you did not cause the damage. If your landlord refuses to give back your deposit because he claims that you owe back rent, you should bring with you to court copies of rent receipts, money orders and canceled checks that you used to pay your rent.

What Does A Landlord Have To Do To Begin An Eviction For Failure To Pay Rent

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If you fail to pay the full monthly rent by the due date, youâre considered late on rent. At this point, the landlord must provide you with two notices. Lawmakers put these notice requirements in place as eviction protections for New Yorkers. The landlord must send you:

  • A late rent notice: This notice only needs to tell you that your rent is past due. It can’t be sent until five days after the rent was due if you still havenât paid. Notices must be sent by certified mail, and your landlord must send you a notice for each month you’re behind on the rent.

  • A 14-day notice to pay the rent or be evicted: The 14-day notice will tell you that if you donât pay the rent within 14 days, the landlord will start eviction proceedings. The notice must also show all the months and the amounts you’re behind. While this can be sent on the first day you’re past due, many landlords wait and send this notice with the late rent notice.

  • A 30-day notice to pay the rent or be evicted if your landlord is a mobile home park owner and you rent a lot but own the mobile home: In this case, the landlord must give you a 30-day notice. The landlord must follow the same rules for serving 30-day notices as for 14-day notices.

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What Happens After An Eviction Trial

The judge may decide the case immediately or may issue their decision at a later date. If the judge rules in the landlord’s favor, you’ll receive a notice of eviction from a law enforcement officer, which gives you 14 days to vacate the unit. On the 15th day or any time after, the sheriff’s department will come and remove you and your possessions. Enforcement of an eviction order can only occur during daylight hours on a business day. If the 15th day falls on a weekend or holiday, the eviction will have to wait until the next business day.

If you didnât file an answer or attend the hearing but you have a good reason, you can file an order to show cause and affidavit in support of the order to show cause with the court. This allows you to explain your situation to a judge. The court has the power to stay the eviction for up to one year. In an order to show cause, you can even be put back into your home after you’ve been removed from the home. For this to work, you must have very good reasons.

Should You Appeal Your Eviction Case?

The timing of when to file a notice of appeal and other important rules may depend on the local court. It’s important to realize that if you file your notice of appeal after 14 days, you may have been evicted by the time your notice of appeal is filed.

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